Ac stratiformis

This photo projecting towards the eastern horizon shows an extensive layer of altocumulus stratiformis clouds as the Maltese Islands remained within the edges of a strong medicane named ‘Zorbas’ as clearly evident by the visible satellite image on the fourth thumbnail. However, it’s variety was not easy to identify. The variety ‘opacus’ could be easily attached to the photographed cloud cover as it was clearly thick to hide the sun completely. The first thumbnail photo shows the exact cloud cover but projecting towards the western horizon to make a complete picture of the sky on that day. The first thumbnail shows a clean cut of the clouds on the western horizon clearly indicating the farthest western extent of the medicane. However, it is unclear whether the varieties ‘undulatus’ and ‘radiatus’ could be attached within the cloud or perhaps also ‘duplicatus’ if there were more than one layer of altocumulus with the lowest layer being clearly ‘undulatus’.

The second thumbnail looks like an example of altostratus undulatus taken in the morning of the same day and again with a clear western horizon as the medicane never really advanced westwards. Heavy sea swell was also observed on the eastern side of the Maltese Islands causing coastal flooding in areas such as M’Scala and Sliema. In fact, the weather sounding on the third thumbnail indicated cloud levels at between 1.9km and 4.7km possibly being divided in 2 layers and also favouring stratiform cloud formations since instability (lfcEL parameter) seems to have ended at altitude of 1.7km. Furthermore a bit of directional wind shear from NNW to NNE was also observed making some undulations in the cloud cover possible. The fourth and fifth thumbnails show the visible satellite image and rain image of what was medicane Zorbas which created the photographed cloud cover and the sixth thumbnail shows that its surface pressure was 994mb over the Southern Ionian Sea and still having to loose that warm front completely. The medicane itself was primarily driven by an inflow of cold air near freezing coming down from the Balkans on previous days which induced a compact low through steam rising from a very warm sea of around 28C sustaining that rare weather phenomena. The beginnings of the medicane were followed through the page here ‘Sc floccus2′ and here. 

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